Saturday, March 15, 2008

I got chocolate on my pants

And It makes me sad. The chocolate on my pants. Although I don't know if you can really call it chocolate since it came off of a Snicker's Marathon bar. You know, the healthy bar. At least that's what they say.

And I choose to believe them.

So today a song came on the radio. It's catchy, electronicky, and the girl's voice is a bit gravilly. I like it. But I already know that my taste in music is not sophisticated. My brother has been telling me that for years. And I'm going off on a rabbit trail ..... what surprised me was that Dammy liked it. And started singing it. And decided he had to figure out what the lyrics really were. So he googled it. And I hear him say, in a horrified voice, "It's sung by Hannah Montana!" ROFL. It must be mocked. Join me in lovingly mocking him.

My funny story from the bookstore today ties in with yesterday's post. You know, the gross stuff that makes my stomach take a tumble. A customer came up and said she had ordered a book. Orders come with slips of paper on them. It's important that you know that. I started to unwrap the book to show her the book and make sure it was what she wanted (you never read aloud the title of the book. People have all sorts of strange tastes. Just better not to vocalize anything). I realized what it was, fortunately, before I had finished the unwrapping. 30 Days of Night. The graphic novel. Which looks totally worse than the movie. So I exclaimed in a horrified voice "30 Days of Night! I'm sorry I can't look at the cover!" Customer looks at me in an odd way but says nothing. I ring her up without looking at the cover and carefully put the book safe inside a bag (again, without looking at it). Customer begins looking like she thinks I've completely lost my marbles. Customer finally walks away and I can laugh at myself. that's my funny story.

Matticus interviewed TJ the other day. Can't remember the exact question but TJ started talking about what she likes in a blog. Basically she likes them to present material in a different way, to put a different spin on things. Not that the many great blogs out there aren't doing that. The example she used was when a new patch would come out and for the next few days that's what people talked about. Without much variation. Again, not to say that the writeups were bad. And let me also insert that I'm paraphrasing TJ rather badly (don't hurt me!?). all this to say: what makes us at 2.5 orcs different? Dammy can do technical. I faithfully read his posts about mathy, technical stuff and it promptly runs out again. Didn't like the territory I suppose. And he does controversial things like call TJ an icky. Me, I like to think I make people laugh. I certainly make myself laugh. Occasionally this happens when I'm shelving books or straightening. That gets you strange looks. And also I bring the perspective of a person who doesn't come from a gaming background and was suckered into playing WOW. A person who used a certain inflection in her voice when she referred to "gamers". A person who knows squat about computering and gets all the gaming terms mixed up. A person who's favorite word is "whatchamacallit." And "thingy." (that's actually not true. I like lot's of different words. And if anybody tells you they saw me reading a dictionary for fun they're lying.) So here's a question for you faithful readers who also blog. What makes you different? What do you bring to the WOW bloggosphere? Other than being your fabulous self, of course.

that's it for me. talk at you guys later.

FOR CHOCOLATE!

Friday, March 14, 2008

The soul of an Orc

So this election is the first year I actually sat down and said... "What do I value". Why did I do this? Because Obama is fascinating. But he's democrat, and it struck me that I had always voted republican because my parents had. So I felt that I had to write out what was valuable to me so that I could vote responsibly for the Person that matched me closest(This wasn't Obama which is unfortunate considering how much I like listening to him speak). Here are some things I found:

1) Privacy isn't worth very much to me. Knowing someone is reading my email, listening to my phonecalls doesn't bother me, I'm used to people invading my space.

2) the economy isn't normally a concern. I live cheeply(when I was single I consistantly made 5-8k a year) and tend to think "it will work out" about finances. But I do abhor the national debt and income tax(sales or flat tax please!). So I'm against our expensive war overseas and against tax cuts(sales or flat tax please!). Our personal debt is a demon I am working hard at banishing(28-30% of our after taxes income is spent on it).

3) Education is HUGE to me. It is so very easy to indoctrinate someone if you are incharge of their education. Heck just look at the effects of propaganda advertising. Education should be private, with a federal audit branch that could/would tell us which schools were the better schools and which schools sucked. Then we could avoid the bad schools all together, or pick schools based on our beliefs. Oh and the current education fund could be turned into a Federal Aid fund that helped kids get into the private schools.

4) I wish the US had an isolationist policy towards intervening over seas.... keep trade open... pull back troops.... become less of a superpower. I'm not an emperialist, but if we're going to be invading other countries could we at least keep them?(My foreign policy is childish).

5) I think abortion is murder. I would rather you gave the child up for adoption or he/she became a ward of the state.

6) I wish that there was no difference in status between non-married people and married people in the eyes of the state. Then the whole "what defines marrage" debates could just bloody go away. Freakin semantics debates.

Another thing I realized during this soul search is that I really don't like my career. I'm not a computer person and I don't like research. I'm a people person who likes to get excited about things and show you the shinies. I REALLY want to own my own business and would love to be a coffee-sandwich-cookie-book-shop bartender. None of my business ideas are revolutionary but customer service is what sells in that business and I'm certain I rock at it.

Also I'm worried that my ability to be content with my salary will hamper my ability to be self-employed. Like I'll screw up the business by not growing and happily accepting the status quo. Due to being married my idea of an dream(ie: amazing) salary has gone from 30k to 60k+. I tell you this so you will understand my low standards. Every day I reign in my desire to cancel our cellphones and cable(never internet) and other luxuries and move into a 1bedroom apartment. I often wish my total life expenses would stay under $400 the way they did when I was single with no kid. However, I -want- my woman to feel happy and secure so I want to have enough money to enable that.

My dream hours as an employee? 30 hours a week. One day working evening shift... the rest daytime shift. With 14-17 paid days off a year. Full medical benifits. I'd take the salary cut for this.

As a business owner I would have to work a LOT more, but as long as Herself could work with me and this was something we owned... no problem. I already work a ton on my WoW hobby(ask her how much I talk about it). So it wouldn't really be work so much as heavy math to figure out exactly which ratio of cookies to coffee I needed so that I'd stay under the cookie cap but would have enough coffee that the raid won't suffer.

Well, this has been a glimpse into who I am.... to tie it back into WoW... hmm what kind of tax policy do you think each faction has? I mean they have to pay for the guards somehow.

Coffee

Dammy makes my morning coffee the night before. He's a very nice orc. This morning, however, my coffee is really thick. Like European cafe thick. Like the thickness my Flemish grandmother (and yes she really is-speaks the language and everything!! -grins-) adores in her very black coffee. I'm not complaining, mind you. I'm just saying. And it feels as though I'm getting 4 cups for the price of two ....

And on to the subject I meant to write about today.

I'm 50! Do a happy dance, yeah, do the happy dance. Not me. Beowulfa. And I have the Bestial thingy for me now! So exciting. And track dragonkin. Those trainers are soooo behind the times. I was killing those dragons five levels ago. And I found some good agility mail gear on the AH for not-outrageous prices and I celebrated by buying them. Speaking of gear, I have a question for you leatherworking people .... I went dragonscale because wowwiki said it was best for hunters and because I liked the idea of wearing dragon armor. Did the quest, learned how to do a few. And none of them had any agility. I went back to wowwiki. Looked a little closer. None of the dragonscale armor had agility. However elemental recipes did. Sooooo, I traveled to the elemental trainer. Found out I had to disown the dragonscale trainer first. Did that. Came back to elemental trainer. Rascal sent me to Tanaris. Then I went back to him. And I noticed that all the elemental stuff was leather. Not mail. I almost cried. Seriously. Wearing mail is like a badge of honor. That and having your mount. It's what I looked forward to from lvls 30-39. BUT. Dammy and my research points to agility as the clue to my happiness. So. Mix and match? Buy good mail gear when I find it and make leather for the rest? Ditch mail and go leather entirely? Drop leatherworking and go do something else? I actually don't want to do that. Beowulfa DOES leatherworking. And skinning. I've invested a lot of time, effort, and thought into it. But I could still change if leatherworking no longer had anything for me .....

Now that I've reached the golden age of 50 Dammy has asked me to slow down. Not out of concern for my age-we orcs are very long lived-but because I'm too fast for him and he wants to catch up. I think he's 46. And he keeps on asking me for more gold ....... We had earned about 75 gold over the course of two days. Then I spent most of that on training and that new gear .... but it makes me hopeful that we'll soon have 1500 gold. That's our target. We have until lvl 60. It seems like such an astronomical amount. But the quests I get are now giving me gold instead of silver so we're moving up in the world. It's still hard to wrap my mind around that amount though. And my AH flipping is going well. I'm very conservative. I usually stick with trade items and I try not to spend much more than 5 gold on an item/stack. I realize I'll probably have to increase that amount as my income increases because I'll be able to afford some of the discounted pricier mats ... that sounded weird. Anyway. You know what I mean.

Time to hit the gym and make myself buff. And look HAWT.

FOR MUSCLES! (yeah, dude, lift those wimpy 15-pounders! I've got the 20's ... I'm stronger than you!!!)

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Goodbye RFC.

We're done with RFC now. No more. Kapoooshksks! Finished!

Last night, I silly pulled and we still easily killed everything. I need to watch the silly-pulling though... just because an area is easy doesn't mean it won't/can't kill you.

Much like the other two poxes currently running(black is getting up steam), we're prepping for WC. We ran the oasis quests and Trif's Druid Poison thingy quest. It is mind boggling how easy these mobs(normal level 15-18) seem after RFC.

Next wednesday, I think we'll finish up Abuto's rogue quest, finish killing the turtles for the RFC quest and then visit WC to get the two quests at the entrance and start getting a feel for the area. If this happens fast enough we should be able to try and take down Lady Anaconda.

The huge number of mobs that sleep you in WC worries me a lot. We have a shaman for Tremor totem but he currently uses earth totems to help mitigate damage... adjusting will be interesting. However I have swipe now so holding agro on 4+ mobs will be a LOT easier.

Hmm can priests remove sleep? That might be the way to go.

Well I'm done for now...Wulfa should be posting more later.

-----------------------------------------------------
An addendum:
Wara(I think) posted a list of gear she is looking forwards to from WC.
Here is my list:
Back:
[Glowing Lizardscale Cloak] Skum
20 Armor+6 Agility +2 Stamina

Shoulder:
[Serpents Shoulders] Lady Anacondra
59 Armor+9 Agility

Chest:
[Armor of the Fang] Lord Pythas
82 Armor+8 Strength +8 Stamina

Hands:
[Gloves of the Fang]
52 Armor+5 Strength +6 Agility

Waist:
[Belt of the Fang] Lady Anacondra
49 Armor+5 Agility +6 Stamina
[Deviate Scale Belt](from recipe)(quest)
51 Armor+6 Stamina +5 Agility +3 Spirit

Legs:[Leggings of the Fang] Lord Cobrahn
79 Armor+5 Strength +9 Agility+4 Stamina

Feet: [Footpads of the Fang]
62 Armor+6 Agility +6 Stamina

All of these items and the rest of the blue boss drops are listed here: http://www.wowwiki.com/Wailing_Caverns

Wulfa here. Stop the presses!

So I wasn't too excited about going into RFC again last night BUT I have a lot of fun playing with Abuto and Elips (I play with dammy and brother all the time so they don't count). We easily destroyed the denizons of RFC and started doing the prerequisite's for WC. I'm looking forward to that-I've never been through the WC at a lvl that the gear would actually benefit me. Since I don't do research like Dammy does I don't know what could drop for a shadow priestie. Hopefully he'll be a nice orc and look that up for me?

There was something that happened last night that has had repercussionsthat will stretch into the far future. Let me backtrack a bit. While I was pregnant with Orclette I COULD NOT go near chicken. I could not smell it, I couldn't see it. I avoided other meats as well (except for hamburgers-those I still liked). It took a while for me to approach chicken again after she was born. And I still ask Dammy to do any gross stuff. Anyway, Elips started talking about scratching his head and stuff falling off (or maybe it was Rabbit? I tried to block this out ...) and then it devolved into grosser and grosser stuff, ending with green stuff that looked like guacamole coming out of various holes. Wulfa retched in-game. My stomach was turning in RL. I wish it hadn't-Elips was actually being pretty funny. I just couldn't stomach it. Anyway, today was shopping day. Orclette and I were having fun in Walmart, she was entertaining everybody by doing her voice impressions, and we were almost done. I'm trying out new crockpot recipes and I need a chuck roast. So I wander over to that section, finally find things that say chuck roast on them, and start trying to figure out which one I need. One looked promising until I read (and this is loosely quoted:)

"Garlic/herbs inserted into slits to make meat taste better." Slits. Like eye-slits. Stomach reacted violently. I put that one down and moved on to the next hopeful. No mention of slits BUT it looked like something out of a horror movie. Like ribs freshly aired. With bright red blood dripping off of it ..... because it was cheaper I bought that one but tried to avoid looking at it. And Dammy will have browning duty cause I can't look at it again. For that matter Dammy will have all meat-shopping/buying rights in the future. I just can't do it. And it all started with the mention of guacamole and an undead warlock in the same sentence ......

Anyway. Abuto and Elips are awesome fun (again, hubby and brother don't count ....). (Hopefully) Next week WC! Lady Anacondra is goin' down!

FOR POX!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Requesting input.

Here is a group setup scenario:

My youngest brother has started playing again. He badly wants to party with us. He plays alliance and has about 700g to freely spend on gear and bags and enchants and food for us... so we could focus on leveling up. He has requested we create alts to play with him, and has gone so far as to buy us all 16 slot soulbound bags to start with. The current party set up is as follows:

Human/Dwarf Protection Paladin (Youngest brother)
Night Elf Resto Druid (wulfa)
Night Elf Hunter (Raaksi)

You can only add one more person, what would you add? Knowing of course that Dwarves are ugly and humans are ugly.

I've narrowed my choices to Night Elf Shadow priest(I want to be the same race as wulfa) and Drenai mage(gnomes are -almost- ugly). Ugly being the point where a race is no longer playable.

Auction House Expert

Or, should I say, AH flipping expert. Why am I so excited? An item I bought for 5 gold sold for 17. 12 gold profit!

Now, some of you higher-lvl peoples are laughing at me right now. You probably make 12 gold selling the junk that drops off of your lvl mobs (do they drop junk? you see, I've never been there ...). I'm still excited. I love seeing the amount of gold we have increase, and then increase some more, and then more .... and I hate spending it. Dammy has to beg, plead, then resort to prostitution to make me part with any monies whatsoever (well, I guess it isn't really prostitution, but more like a favor)[more like selling your body and mind for enough silver to repair]. And that's why I'm in charge of our WOW finances. His characters are always broke. And might I add that we are both excellently geared and our professions are leveled quite nicely. And we're sitting on top of 400 gold and counting (we're levels 49 and 45). So we'll be in good shape for our pretty new mounts at lvl 60. How I wish real-life finances worked that way. I'm in charge of them, too. Dammy could do it, but he likes to round up amounts. This drives me nuts. I like to write down the exact amount, including the pennies. I like to take a month's sample of his paycheck then get the median amount (is that right? median? it's been awhile since I last had to know the correct terminology and not just say thingy, or whatchamacallit, etc.). Dammy spouts out a conservative amount that's below what we could reasonably expect to get, just to be safe. So anyway, I do it. 'Cause I'm closer to that type A personality and whatnot. And my dad's an engineer and he's very precise about everything. And I really, really, really like being in charge of the money. Ebeneezer Scrooge and I are not related, by the way (but we could be really good friends).

Anways. Dammy's alarm is about to go off and wake both man and child from very sound slumbers. I must go and rescue them.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Children of the State

http://www.csmonitor.com/2008/0312/p08s01-comv.html

This worries, angers, frustrates me.

I was homeschooled the majority of my life. When I was 15 I went to public school for one year to see how it was. I made solid A's and was bored out of my mind. I left, did 6 months of prep work and started working on an associates degree in computer science. I held a 4.0 until my last two semesters. I graduated with a 3.3 gpa at 19. I am an average student who suffers from motivation issues. I think I did fine. I now have comfortable job with banking software.

My mother was not teacher certified, and did not have -any- degree.

I plan on homeschooling my daughter. This ruling sounds like BS to me and when I think about it I am infuriated.

Just needed to get that off my chest.

Non-elites.

Make me cry. Really. Putting them in instances guarantee's I won't come back. Scarlet Monastary Graveyard? I'll never see you again. Yer not worth it anymore. I mean... I used to think well hey that will be fun...but you have a ton of annoying non-elite mobs that die like paper. I might as well be farming on the world map solo(way more fun).

I feel the same way about the crocodiles and snakes in Wailing Caverns..... WHY ARE THEY THERE. Grr. I guess they exist to make area spells have a reason. Still... bleh.

I thouroghly enjoyed partying with slig last night. We were a cheerfully disorganized ball of frenzied steel, lightning and claws.

I was sad though that the instance was so much below us. I keep thinking of SM as this level 50 area and its only a level 30-40 area. Uldaman is the same but should be longer and I haven't seen it before....ever.

ZulFname looks like crazy fun. Mara looks tedious. Sunken Temple looks scary(thematicly). I plan on visiting all of these soon...very soon. I'm going to these places because I want to see the story and the environment. If I was wanting to be level 70 I would simply xp solo until level 65 or so and pug until 70.

I'm still curious why people do instances. I solo outdoors and avoid the things. I mean really the only reason I ever do instances is someone I know wants to party with me. So we do one about once a week.

Now that I'm getting my party fix with Pox I rarely have a reason to even LOOK at an instance. My shaman went once to WC, and then just now went to SM as a level 45 with a level 49 and level 61. Thats two instances in 45 levels. And I wouldn't have done that if we hadn't wanted to hang out with Slig for a night. Sure you get blues....but the blues are out dated by the end of the week..... We -wanted- to play with Slig, and instances were the best bet for us(elite mobs make parties fun). Also now that I've seen that no one puts my level gear on to market... I'm going to have to instance for -gear- ><.

UNLESS for some reason you are level 40-61 in which case no one ever puts any gear on auction that has any stat other than 'of the whale'.

Both Emerald Dream and Drenden on the Horde side are suffering from a HUGE lack of green agi/str gear. I'm wearing a level 34 chest piece and I can't find an upgrade until level 60+ when I search for mail chest gear. I search daily for mail gear by slot. I usually see 3 items total in the level 38-49 range and 2 of them are of the whale...the third is a 150-300g epic. This is true for helmets, shoulders, chest, axes, hammers.....

Do people just not sell gear at these levels? I'm mind boggled.

Well thats my daily rant. I know wulfa posted, but it was my turn :p.

I gots to sleep in!

It almost never happens. Even when Orclette wasn't here to wake me up by patting my face I couldn't sleep in. Holidays were too exciting to waste any of it with unnecessary sleeping. Saturdays and Sundays, well, I work retail. Nuff said. Anyway. We owned SM last night with Slig the handsome tauren. Great fun. And since we had stayed up a bit later than usual for me I wasn't planning on getting up at 4:45 am. So when that alarm went off I turned it off and fell back into blissful slumber. Only to be woken up by Dammy's panicked shout of ""It's almost 8!" So a very fast awakening and off to drive him to work. But ... I gots to sleep in!

Back to SM. Parts of it required tiptoeing around the dude that brings all his buddies when you aggro him but the rest of it wasn't a match for our combined awesomeness. And I think Dammy was getting a bit of xp (woot! for being lvl 45 ....) I'm not quite sure what lvl Uldaman is but I'm looking forward to it-I like doing instances. And I like doing instances with new people, and not just various brothers-in-law. And have I told you yet? I'm sooo close to getting The Beast Within. Totally looking forward to it. Have been salivating over it, in fact. Ooh, and I found an awesome 2-hander swordie-thing with 22 agility on it ... very good for my lvl. There's nothing on the AH armor-wise until we get to 60. Is this true on other servers as well?

I'm rambling. Go read Pike's post (Dammy please link it 'cause I don't know how-computer noob!). Everything she says is true. My fave was the mining and herb comment ... I have done that every time I don't have a hunter.

I'm out of rambles.

FOR ORCLETTE! (dangnabbit, Orclette, put that rattle away .......)

Monday, March 10, 2008

We put on a show!


We had fun. Messed around. Got me some pants and a belt and a set bonus. Slig showed off his fancy electromancy. Wulfa made with the b.r.k. And at the end. We put on a dance show.

Orclette' Guide to Life

-written by her loving, adoring, very tired mother at rattle-point-

0-2 months
It must be remembered that it was VERY comfy in utero. Upon the horrific and unasked-for-by-you expulsion from this abode your objections MUST be made known. The Big People must pay, and pay dearly, for their acts of unkindness towards you. Besides, it is time to start working on your evil and diabolical plan. What is that? you ask? Why, to take over the world, of course. Personally I recommend a bit of crying. Work it in between the multiple rests you MUST take to keep your strength up. A lovely little trick I learned was to pretend to fall asleep only to wake up screaming a few minutes later. The Big People will love it. (gleeful chuckle)

2-4 months
Now's the time to exert your dominion over the Big People. Don't worry about their bigger size-you have weapons fit enough to bring them down to size. First up: The Smile. They will be BEGGING you for more. Whip it out sparingly and you will have them eating out of your hand. They will be putty, to be molded into your bigger plan (of total domination).

4-6 months
Around this time you will be ready to pull out your next weapon: The Crawl. Or perhaps just The Creeper. Doesn't matter which. They will LOVE it. At least at first. Then they will begin to see that they are no longer in charge. It won't fully sink in yet, but the seeds of understanding are there. And you will find that any object in the house is now accessible by you. I recommend focusing on the objects that elicit the loudest shouts and make them your top priority. You will rock the Big People's world. And you're one step closer to FULL mobility and, of course, total domination.

6-8 months

As if it weren't enough that they dragged you from your comfortable first apartment NOW they will want to change your dietary habits. An array of strange, unappetizing and weird-looking food will be paraded before you. The Big People will attempt to fool you into taking a bite. You can attain mastery of this situation by carefully choosing what you will let into your mouth. And if you choose unwisely, no worry, spit it back out. The Big People will be so excited to see you accepting a bite that they will go along with whatever you do afterwards.

It is also around this time period that, if you've been practicing The Crawl, that you can begin practicing The Stand. This MUST be mastered in order to perfect The Walk. The Big People will make loud noises and embarrass themselves in excitement over your new accomplishment little knowing what doom awaits them. (gleeful chuckle)

8 months and beyond
As a conscientious writer I pledge only to write what I know. As I just attained the 8-month mark I cannot write of what lies beyond. At least not yet. But rest assured, my Faithful Followers, that I WILL write of what is to come. My vision WILL come to pass. NOTHING will stand in my way! FOR ORCLETTE!

Sunday, March 9, 2008

This is a Dual Sunday post.

Slig said hi to us! Hi slig! Great name btw. Oh and I'm Alchemy 238 or some such... after 3 transmutes I've finally worked out that I can only do it once every 24 hrs. I thought maybe my iron bars were broken :p.

That was a joke... I'm an Orc not a Troll. It only took me 2 transmutes.

GD pointed me at a WoW insider post on lowbie mage gear and got me thinking about how badly I want a water elemental summoning Forsaken clothie! To go along with my NE or Troll hunter mans that I don't have yet. Why Frost? Well because fire is all burny. And I've always thought Ice was cool(in games...I hate the cold in RL). Also I want to make sheep.

If I was a shaman totem I would be a dustdevil(Earth/wind) totem. Earth because I'm easily entertained by basic things and I don't require much to keep me happy(much like a rock). Wind because I'm flighty and often skipping back and forth(like the wind). Also I don't like being wet(water) and I'm not a firey person I don't think(low on the passion scale).

Herself should be coming in here soon to finish this post. She doesn't know it yet though.


Umm ok. Herself is here. Very excited about being on a normal server. I won't get ganked anymore! I went to all the places I couldn't on Emerald Dream because of nasty alliance peoples. Soooo nice. I can actually track what I'm hunting and not have humanoid tracking on all the time (I hate being hit without at least seeing what's doing the hitting). But back to last evening when the transfer occurred.

First order of business: scan the AH. Did so, prices were similar except where someone jacked the prices for several items .... I expect it'll even out as I get more scans under my belt. It was rather jerking to see my tabard blank. Our guild on the other server had fizzled out. It was a casual thing to begin with ... bunch of dudes from Retromud playing together (Retro doesn't have any pictures and therefore was totally not interesting to me). They all left to join another guild. We were gonna leave them anyway. But it's happened. No guildies. No guild chat. No guild bank. -Sniff.- But I want to be very picky about what guild we join, and I'd kinda like to see what guild GD picks and follow her if possible ...(you have a posse GameDame! or is it entourage ...)

anyway. I likes Drenden. So if you have a toon there stop by and say hi. @ Ratshag: Infidelity is on our friends list so we'll send you a wave when you get on. @ Slig: soooo looking forward to having you help us do instances .... it'll be fun having a highbie help us out.

And Orclette has just escaped her safe playing area. Gotta run!